Category Archives: Housekeeping

Fun With Horrible People

Those wacky kids are having a field day with the utterly tone deaf photo of Steve Mnuchin and his horrible wife Louise Linton, visiting their money. The “money shot” heard round the internet was just rife for mocking, and the internet did not disappoint.

Some Friday funnies:

These showed up after someone noticed that Linton was dressed like Kylo Ren from “Star Wars”:

The Mnuchins are truly horrible people and I shall make fun of them until they are run out of Washington, D.C. Someone said if your signature were on the U.S. money you’d take that photo too; maybe, but I sure as hell know better than to Tweet it out to the world.

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And Then There Were Four

When a reader requested more furbaby pictures, I’m sure this wasn’t what he had in mind. But, sad news from the Beale household: yesterday we had to say goodbye to our little Oscar.

Oscar was literally found in the street by our house and named by blog commenters. He was FIV+, so we knew he wouldn’t have a long life, but the end came suddenly and unexpectedly. He started having seizures a couple of days ago and they got increasingly violent and frequent. One seizure at the vet’s office left him blind. So yesterday we helped him across the rainbow bridge. He died in his favorite place: my arms. He was six years old.

Farewell, little buddy. You were a bundle of love in your short life. You are missed.

Oscar’s First Christmas Tree

Oscar’s 2nd Favorite Place: The Porch

Hiding From The Vet

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Where Am I?

Though I FEEL like hiding under the bed during the awful Trump era, I’m actually just busy teaching, dealing with some health issues, writing my Senators and Congress Critters, cooking, going to hockey games (go Preds!) … you know, having a life.

I’m sorry I’ve abandoned the blog. I just haven’t felt up to writing during this absurd Trump era. Everything that could be said is being said by people smarter, better educated, better paid (ha!), and better equipped to handle the craziness of this modern America. When even Senator Bob Corker and I agree that the current occupant of the White House is a toddler, well … you know American politics has jumped the shark.

But I know some of you miss talking to each other and I forgot that my blog stops accepting comments on a post after two weeks or so. So here is a “fresh sheet,” as we used to say in the Atrios days.

Feel free to vent about the toddler-in-chief, the completely crazy idea that Roy Moore might actually be going to the U.S. Senate, our pending nuclear showdown with North Korea, your favorite chili recipe, or what have you.

I’ll be back someday, I promise. Right now, the world is just too sad.

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Tennessee Gun Report

While the state tries to figure out if it has the worst or best accidental gun fatality rate in the land, Greene County grapples with its own dubious distinction, leading the state in gunfail. It’s something I’ve long suspected.

Sheriff Hankins said after we showed him the high number of gun incidents in his county, he plans to work with area gun shops and ranges to set up more classes and raise awareness about safety.

Probably a good idea, bro. Because ….. read on.

• September 25, 2016:

A 12-year-old in Nasville was shot in the leg by another child this morning. Update:

Metro Capt. Jason Reinbold said the shooting took place when a group of children […] ran out to the driveway to meet a visitor who had just arrived. The visitor, a woman who has not been identified, had a gun in her car, Reinbold said.

The 2-year-old child found the gun and accidentally fired, hitting the 12-year-old in the leg, Reinbold said.

Dear god, let’s charge that idiot woman with negligence.

• September 24, 2016:

There appears to have been an accidental shooting in Memphis, with the victim in critical condition. No other information at this time, however.

• September 23, 2016:

1- One of our safest, most responsible citizens EVAH took his gun to work, as the law allows, and promptly shot the place up, killing two supervisors before turning the gun on  himself. Slow clap, Tennessee. Getting harder to tell the good guys with guns from the bad  guys.

2- A Madison Co. corrections officer has been suspended after his gun discharged at the jail.

• September 22, 2016:

Another incident involving a CCW holder, this one out of Columbia. Guy was drunk and brandishing a gun at a car containing children in a case of rage, because safest, most responsible, etc.

• September 21, 2016:

A 15-year-old student brought a gun to Siegel High School in Rutherford County.

• September 16, 2016:

1- Congratulations, Greeneville! The state capital of gunfail notches an entry in this week’s run-down: a man accidentally shot a relative in the eye attempting to shoot a dog. For some reason I get the feeling that a trailer park might have been involved. Just a hunch.

2- A Murfreesboro man has been charged with plotting to assassinate two Democratic members of Congress, neither of whom are from Tennessee, and threatening to shoot up a courthouse:

Kaehiokahouna Stewart, 36, was arrested Friday morning at his home, officials said. Court documents and officials say Stewart went so far as to buy a plane ticket to Hawaii to carry out his murder plot.

A complaint filed by the government says Stewart sent threatening emails and posted threatening videos on social media, specifically targeting U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

On Aug. 19, Stewart sent an email saying he would fly from Nashville to Honolulu on Nov. 1 “with the intent to shoot people at the Princess Jonah Federal Building,” a news release from U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee David Rivera’s office says.

The complaint says Stewart has sent grievances to various government officials, including Hirono, Gabbard and President Barack Obama, since November 2013.

“Stewart falsely believed that his (Social Security number) had been duplicated and issued to a fellow soldier he met while stationed at Camp Stanley in Korea in 2002,” the news release says.

He wrote to the Social Security Administration and Department of Defense saying they ruined his life.

“Stewart demanded he receive 100% Veterans Administration disability and $50 billion or he would purchase a gun and a silencer and would not be responsible for any crimes he committed,” the complaint says. It also says Stewart’s Social Security number was determined to be one digit different from the other U.S. Army soldier.

So many crazy people out there and every damn one of them can buy a gun, no questions asked.

• September 14, 2016:
1- A Roan Mountain hunter was accidentally shot when his hunting partner tripped.

2- Members of the Tennessee Firearms Assn. tried to test the Tennessee Valley Fair’s ban on firearms in order to gain standing for a legal challenge of the ban.

Nobody actually entered the fairgrounds or was arrested. However, they recorded a police officer telling them they’d be “subject” to arrest if they entered the fair armed.

Okie dokie.

• September 13, 2016:

Multiple weapons stolen from a home in Memphis.

• September 10, 2016:

1- Two are injured in separate accidental shooting incidents in Clarksville:

CLARKSVILLE — One man was injured Friday night after accidentally shooting himself while cleaning a gun, and another was hit by stray gunfire during an altercation on Ryder Avenue early Saturday morning, according to Clarksville Police.

Are we safer yet?

2- A gun-toting UT football fan didn’t show much sense when voicing her support for the Vols at the Battle of Bristol:

bristol

• September 9, 2016:

1- Two Nashville teenagers tried to rob a pizza delivery man but it all went awry when one of the robbers accidentally shot himself in the arm.

2- This responsible Chattanooga-area gun owner launched a standoff with law enforcement and fired as many as 30 shots at 6 sheriff’s deputies.

We haven’t really talked about this but Google “standoff with police” and be amazed at the huge number of angry white males armed for battle who are terrorizing their neighborhoods these days. It’s really quite shocking.

• September 8, 2016:

In Louisville (Tennessee, not Kentucky) a woman isn’t charged after shooting a nine-year-old in the head. Because, accidents:

The sheriff’s office said the boy’s mother was handling the gun while the boy was playing and it went off by accident.

They said the round traveled through the floor and sub-floor to to the first floor and struck the boy on the forehead.

• September 5, 2016:

A dispute between neighbors in Drummonds starts with one firing gunshots into the woods and ends with the other bulldozing a house in the middle of the night.

• September 2, 2016:

A Goodlettsville man was arrested for trying to enter Canada with a gun.

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I Have Questions 

Kudos to law enforcement for their quick apprehension of the Texas bombing suspect.

Wait, Texas? Yup:

Cary Lee Ogborn, 50, was arrested late Friday after retrieving a package he thought contained explosives powerful enough to maim or kill people or destroy buildings.

This is the other terror plot from last weekend, the one cable news ignored, probably because the guy’s name is Cary Lee Ogborn, not something Muslim-y like Ahmed or Mohammed.

I’d like to know where Ogborn was radicalized. Did he act alone? Did he belong to a church or other group which spread anti-U.S. beliefs? Is he part of a larger network, or is he a “lone wolf”? What materials did he read, what radio shows did he listen to, what websites did he visit?

We may never know because this story has gone virtually ignored.

If I find out I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’m without a computer this week, and am posting this via my iPhone. Please forgive any mistakes or typos.

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Privatize The Gains, Socialize The Losses

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the richest governor in America, has been working to make his family business even richer, and the rest of us poorer, according to The Tennesseean:

After taking office, Gov. Bill Haslam reconstituted an obscure board that enforces environmental rules for the industry that helped make him the richest elected official in America.

Since then, the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board has taken steps to shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers.

The 14-member board, 12 of whom are appointed by the governor, sets rules for the $50 million environmental fund overseen by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, or TDEC. The fund has been paying to clean up spills since 1990. It is financed by a combination of a gas tax paid by consumers at the pump and an annual fee paid by owners of petroleum tanks.

Since the board has been reconfigured, members representing consumers have been eliminated.

The board, which retained its four petroleum industry members, has voted in favor of a resolution to increase the state dollars available to private companies for environmental spills caused by failures or accidents from $1 million to $2 million. That became law in 2015.

This year, a new law gives the board the power to give all gas stations and truck stops a big break — suspending their annual fees to the cleanup fund entirely. Some board members have signaled their support for eliminating those fees this year — despite hearing from the man in charge of the state’s underground storage tank program that a “historically high burden of this funding has shifted onto the public.”

Suspending the industry’s financial contributions would leave taxpayers, who haven’t gotten the same breaks as gas stations and truck stops, bearing full financial responsibility for toxic spills.

Surpriiiise, surpriiise!

This isn’t the first time Gov. Haslam has used his position to enrich his crooked family business. But … blind trusts, yada yada.

And I know my conservative friends are going to say, “But wait, Beale, those costs get handed down to consumers anyway,” after all, isn’t that what they always say? Isn’t that the whole point of “deregulation” and the glorious, unfettered free hand of the market and all that crap? The thing is, the costs don’t get passed down to consumers on a dollar for dollar basis, there is only so much of this “passing on to consumers” that the market can bear.

And this is the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats believe in making industry pay for the damage they cause. If you pollute, you pay. If you make a mess, you clean it up. If your underground storage tanks are leaking, you fix it, and you fix the mess you made. It’s like kindergarten, people. Easy-peasy.

Republicans think that’s so unfair, you guys! Republicans believe that their rich friends should be allowed to do whatever they want, and let the chips fall where they may. Because they think that when they prosper, everyone prospers. It “trickles down,” don’tcha know. They still believe that nonsense!

Meanwhile, the only thing trickling down is polluted ground water and contaminated soil. But what do they care? They live in their gated communities with the private water source and they jet off to Aspen and Europe and all that, where they don’t have to live with the mess they create. They aren’t really affected, are they? It’s not their groundwater, is it? It’s yours! If you want it to be clean, you pay for it! That’s what they believe.

They are truly horrible people.

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Tennessee Gun Report

I’m way behind on this, sorry. Life intervened.

While Tennessee Republicans give away AR-15s as door prizes, like they’re waffle irons, we’ve got plenty of gunfail to give us pause.

• June 23, 2016:

A Red Bank man accidentally shot himself in the leg and has no idea how it happened.

It happened on Pinehurst Avenue.

Police Chief Tim Cristol tells us the man was going to his car when he shot himself in the leg.

He says he’s not exactly sure what happened.

The gun was in the man’s bag when it fired.

But remember, guns don’t shoot people.

• June 21, 2016:

A responsible Bethpage homeowner shot at a teenager he thought was responsible for vandalizing his mailbox:

Joshua Taylor told Sumner County Sheriff’s Deputies that he decided to “sit up and wait” for the teens who he suspected had damaged his mailbox on three separate occasions last week.

Just after midnight on Monday, he heard an ATV drive by his home in the dark, officials say the 29-year-old father grabbed his 12 gauge shot gun and fired a single shot in the direction of the teenagers. One of them was hit with 56 pellets across his back, legs and arms.

“I was like ‘woah I just got shot’ I didn’t know what to do I just started running for my life I didn’t want to die or anything,” the 13-year-old told NewsChannel 5 on Tuesday.

Deputies said one of the teenager’s friends admitted to videotaping himself vandalizing Joshua Taylor mailbox on Haskell Akins Road but they say Taylor made a mistake in the way he dealt with the situation.

That was super-responsible.

• June 20, 2016:

A man was accidentally shot in the head at Nashville Shores campground. Nashville Shores is a waterpark located on Percy Priest Lake.

• June 16, 2016:

Shelbyville: One house. Two unlocked vehicles, both with guns in them. Both were stolen over night. You lose your right to call yourself a responsible gun owner when you’re that big of a dumbass.

• June 15, 2016:

1- Greeneville, the Colorado Springs of Tennessee (at least as far as the community’s disproportionate number of gun incidents is concerned), notches another appearance on the report after an 18-year-old man cleaning his rifle accidentally shot himself in the face.

2- This Johnson City woman says she accidentally shot and killed her husband:

Keeva Ann Delaney (Wilson), 20, 205 Edna Court, Apt. 94 — charged with voluntary manslaughter and four counts of felony reckless endangerment after the June 6 early morning shooting at her apartment — told police the gun accidentally went off after her husband hit her in the face and she fell backward, according to a police investigator’s testimony during Wednesday’s preliminary hearing in Sessions Court.

I’m confused. I thought we women were told if we armed ourselves we could protect ourselves from our domestic abusers? So why isn’t this self-defense?

• June 13, 2016:

1- A Nashville five-year-old was struck in the heart with a BB shot by his 10-year-old brother. The injury required two surgeries.

2- Andy Holt is still an asshole.

• June 9, 2016:

Drunk Knoxville driver charged with possessing a handgun while under the influence. But that’s not the strangest part of this story. For that you’ll have to go to the link.

• June 7, 2016:

1- A Nashville man trying to clear his pistol accidentally shot himself in the leg. He’ll be okay.

2- A Chattanooga lady attending a wrestling match in Ringgold, Ga. (just across the state line), took the show a little too seriously and held a pro-wrestler and his manager at gunpoint. I swear to God, nothing screams we need gun control louder than knowing idiots like this are armed:

Lee showed us what happened during Saturday night’s monthly wrestling match at the AWF Arena off Highway 41 in Ringgold.

He had another wrestler tied to the ropes and was hitting him with a chair.

It was all part of the show, but Lee said one 50-year-old fan apparently took it too seriously when she came running to the ring with a knife, trying to help the wrestler escape.

“She was reaching through the ring, cutting him loose,” he explained.

Patricia Crowe told deputies she drew her pistol after Lee took a jab at her looks.

“The lady was missing a few teeth, so I told her to sit her toothless self down,” he said.

Witnesses said Crowe aimed a 38-caliber handgun at the wrestler and his manager. More than 150 people were sitting ringside, including several children.

“The gun was loaded,” Lee said. “It even had one in the chamber and the safety was off.”

Lee was able to take the gun from the woman. He hold her until officers could get there.

The incident prompted changes in security. Now, fans will have to walk through metal detectors to get in.

Lee said he’s not taking any chances at the next match.

“(The gun) could’ve easily went off and somebody could have lost their life,” he said.

Crowe was released from the Catoosa County Jail on Monday after posting a $4,000 bond. She has been banned from all future AWF wrestling events.

But she can still carry a gun, right? Because Freedom?

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Marketed Patriotism

Patriotism as a marketing ploy is something we haven’t seen since the Bush years, but it appears to be making a comeback. We’ve got two local ads here in Nashville that exploit patriotism, and I’m trying to decide which is worse: Marathon Petroleum’s super-serious country song, “Full Tank of Freedom,” or the campy Eagle Steve character brought to us from U.S. Pest Protection.

Check out Marathon’s “Full Tank of Freedom”:

Can you say cheesy? Wouldn’t “freedom” mean not having to buy any gas in the first place? And considering how we’ve gone to war in the Middle East to secure that supply of “freedom”, this just strikes me as completely tone deaf. All I can say is, this song makes me glad I drive an electric car.

Eagle Steve, on the other hand, is pure, undiluted camp:

Cheesy, yes, but in a self-aware, Colbert Report sort of way. My favorite part is when the man shakes hands (wings?) with the eagle.

Any super cheesy local ads in your town?

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Why Market Solutions To Policy Problems Usually Don’t Work

Interesting piece from Governing magazine, which quotes the University of Michigan’s Barry Rabe, who looked at two market-based solutions to policy issues: the Affordable Care Act and cap-and-trade.

These, of course, were both solidly Republican ideas which Democrats signed on to. Once they did, however, these market-based solutions suddenly caught liberal cooties, and Republicans ran away from them screaming “socialism!” at the top of their lungs.

Rabe notes that by 2008, 23 states had signed on to cap-and-trade:

It seemed a perfect solution. New markets developed, and regional consortia planned to reduce greenhouse gases by 10 percent or more within a few years.

But that perfect solution didn’t last long. Rabe found that, within five years, more than half the states had walked away from their cap-and-trade commitment. The market-based alternative to command-and-control regulations evaporated as a state-based policy tool.

What happened between 2008 and 2013? Well, there was an economic meltdown. There was also a Republican meltdown. Any policy progress while a Democrat was in the White House ground to a halt. The Tea Party took over, state legislatures turned Red. Hyper-partisanship became the rule of the day.

Then there’s the Affordable Care Act, which was designed to dodge complaints of “big government” and encourage the states to create exchanges that would provide insurance policies to their uninsured.

State implementation proved wildly uneven. Federal policymakers found themselves without the results they sought. And everyone came away more convinced than ever that government couldn’t solve problems like this, even though many of the problems were rooted in private market failures.

By the end of 2015, 38 states had declined to set up health-care exchanges, leaving the federal government to step in and create them. Three states — Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon — tried the exchange approach and backed out when enrollment was lower and costs were higher than expected. Some states, like Maryland and Washington, enthusiastically embraced the exchanges but fumbled the launch. Pressed by angry Republicans, who criticized the states’ lack of accountability for federal funds, the Obama administration took back $200 million in grants it had made to states that had struggled to launch their exchanges.

Note: this wasn’t a failure of the policy. It was a failure of politics. Republicans love to talk about the need to “run government like a business,” but when a Democrat does it, they call it Socialism, Fascism, Big Government, etc. Hyper-partisanship has basically ruined our country’s ability to solve big problems, in my opinion. We’re seeing the predictable result of 30 years of “government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem” messaging.

The author notes:

The fundamental flaw lies in two assumptions: that markets always work better than governments and that markets will run themselves if government gets out of the way. The first assumption is the stuff of fierce ideological debate, but the second is really a settled question. Markets just don’t run themselves in delivering public goods, because most of the time they are being asked to do things they aren’t used to doing. And because policymakers tend to assume that the markets will take care of themselves, they often don’t build governmental capacity to steer the process. The reformers then end up running after problems as they develop down the line.

Indeed. Government exists for a reason. Government exists to do the things that the private sector can’t or won’t do.

I’m not going to agree that market-based solutions NEVER work. They can work — when accompanied by a strong government regulatory presence. What never works is all one or the other. You need both.

Truly no ideology has more consistently failed than the Libertarian one, or even worse, the Libertarian-lite “run government like a business,” “government needs to get out of the way,” “release the free hand of the market” one, which dominates today’s Republican Party. I really don’t understand why anyone who believes government is the problem would want to be in government. And I don’t understand why anyone votes for someone who believes government is the problem. It’s like going to a butcher shop run by PETA. You’re just asking for failure.

One thing Democrats have consistently failed at is defending their own positions. A Republican yells “BIG GOVERNMENT” and we wet our pants. Democrats need to learn how to defend their principles, instead of trying massage their positions into something Republicans will find palatable. As the past eight years show, Republicans will never find anything a Democrat does palatable. They will even turn on their own market-based policy solutions if a Democrat is the one selling it.

These are lessons we’ve learned during the Obama years. We’ve also seen markets fail the economy and the American people time and time again. We’ve seen bad actors like Turing Pharmaceuticals and Theranos, hell even Enron is still synonymous with “crooks.” The financial crisis of 2007-2008 ain’t exactly ancient history, not with movies like “The Big Short” reminding everyone about how the market failed the global economy.

We’ve seen deregulation in Texas end in an entire town exploding. And hello, Flint, Michigan, where Republican Gov. Snyder tried to “save money” because “government should be run like a business.” Meanwhile, an actual business — General Motors — refused to use Flint River water at its engine plant because chloride levels were too high.

As this article notes, “government requires governing.” Republicans don’t seem to know how to do it. Democrats don’t seem to know how to be advocates for it. And I believe we will never have effective policies until we fix our politics.

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Tennessee Gun Report

Our first gun report of the new year and Memphis, you are over-represented. What is going on down there?

• January 5, 2016:

In Memphis, a 21-year-old man accidentally fired his gun in his apartment. The bullet passed through the floor to the apartment downstairs, where it hit (and killed) a 13-year-old, and grazed the 3-month-old baby she was holding. The shooter was then shot and killed by someone who went upstairs to investigate.

So much gunfail. Welcome to the NRA’s America.

• January 4, 2016:

A gun report update: two felony indictments have been filed against the Goodlettsville dad whose 5-year-old was accidentally shot by an older brother using dad’s gun back in November.

This was an especially egregious case of negligence. From the original report:

Prior to the shooting, the dad had been watching television with the two children and was playing with the family’s cat with a laser mounted onto a gun.

Police said the man later went into the kitchen and forgot to put the firearm out of the children’s reach.

The older child picked up the gun in an effort to get the cat to chase the laser. Police said the child was unfamiliar with how the laser worked and instead pulled the gun’s trigger, firing one shot.

Hope they lock him up.

• January 3, 2016:

A Memphis teenager is in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself.

• December 28, 2015:

New bill would prohibit civilians from having armed drones but leaves the door open to law enforcement.

Oh hell no.

• December 25, 2015:

Christmas night in Memphis:

A man is in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself in the leg and crashing his car, police say.

According to Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph, officers found two vehicles involved in a crash at Third and Madison Avenue shortly before 9 on Christmas night. The 31-year-old driver of the first vehicle, a Chevrolet Camaro, was pinned by the steering wheel and had to be freed by firefighers.

Once the man was pulled from the car, officers found him to be shot in the leg. The man told police that he accidentally shot himself and was going to the hospital when he crashed his car, police say.

The driver of the second car, an Acura, said he was sitting at the light at Third and Madison when the first car ran the red light and lost control at the intersection. The car struck a pole and then the Acura, police say.

I feel so much safer now, you guys.

• December 23, 2015:

Tennesseans can no longer conceal-carry in Virginia.

• December 19, 2015:

In Chattanooga, a leaf-blowing incident “escalated”:

Orville Hughes, 53, said Marsh apparently took offense when he was blowing leaves near his property.

He said they argued, then Marsh came down from the porch and onto the sidewalk holding a knife.

Hughes said he retreated to his residence and came back out with a gun and holster.

He said he looked up on the porch before leaving his yard and saw Marsh sitting on the porch holding a shotgun. He then retreated and called police.

Arms races always work out so well.

• December 18, 2015:

In case you missed it, we had a mass shooting in Knoxville before Christmas. Very tragic story, which I’m not sure made the national headlines:

Police: Football player killed shielding girls from gunfire

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Police say a high school football player was shot to death while shielding three girls from the gunfire.

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch says the death of 15-year-old Zaevion William Dobson was part of a series of shootings that began Thursday night.

The first incident involved 46-year-old Lisa Perry being shot in her apartment. She is expected to survive.

Rausch said Perry’s 23-year-old son, Brandon Perry, and several other men then drove to the neighborhood where Dobson lived and “randomly fired multiple times.”

The girls shielded by Dobson were not hurt.

Rausch said Brandon Perry was found to have been shot after he crashed a car into another apartment. He died from his injuries on Friday morning.

These vendetta shootings, I just don’t get it. What the hell is wrong with people?

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